“Sick and tired of being sick and tired” is a universal lamentation of women everywhere. We often don our capes and will gladly take on the role of superwoman but at what cost to our own personal well- being? Weariness is likely a part of our DNA as we readily play the role of mother, wife, sister, lover setting our needs aside to our great personal detriment.
Depression is sometimes difficult to recognize in women because we often have so much on our plates that we rarely take a critical look at our symptoms in order to recognize just how deep the cracks beneath our well-hidden, silent crisis run.
What causes depression?
Depression is a complex disease and can be caused by a number of factors. The loss of a loved one, medications, or even certain illnesses can play a role in the manifestation of the disease. The important thing is to “be still” long enough to recognize a problem may be emerging.
Recognize the signs of depression
I had a friend who practically prayed that a recent visit to the doctor would not only result in the need for surgery, but a long recovery period. She saw nothing wrong with this as she was so tired from her daily routine she viewed surgery, followed by mandatory bed rest as an escape. Though it is normal to “feel a little blue” when you are facing health problems the need to escape from daily life could very well be the sign of something deeper. When I suggested to this friend she may actually be depressed, she fervently denied it and said she simply needed a vacation. My question to her was why not take one then?
Besides needing an escape from daily life, other signs of depression include:
Weight gain, or increased appetite
Weight loss or decreased appetite
Fatigue or very little desire to engage in activities that once gave you pleasure
A sense of worthlessness
Withdrawing from friends and family
Admitting that you have a problem is crucial to healing when you are suffering in silence. For many women, this bridge is the most difficult to cross because we see the need to ask for help as an admission of failure or a sign of weakness. This is particularly true of African-American women as the myth of the superwoman is so pervasive in our culture we have sadly begun to believe our own hype. Compound this super woman myth with our tendency to only seek spiritual help and many of us are left suffering from clinical depression that could clearly benefit from the right dose of medication. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer, but prayer combined with the medicine to treat your illness is what will lead to a greater since of well-being.
There is great power in being self aware and recognizing your need for help. Here are some additional resources to help you get back on a path to wholeness.